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Nancy Alenda (Moll) Hillman

PhD received: 2013
Dissertation Title: Drawn Together, Drawn Apart: Race and Reform in the Baptist Churches of Southeastern Virginia, 1800-1870


Fields of Interest: American South, American Slavery, American Religious History, American Civil War Era, Early Modern England

Academic Biography

  • Gettysburg College--B.A. in History, May 2003
  •  The College of William and Mary--M.A. in History, December 2005
  •  The College of William and Mary--Ph.D. Candidate, A.B.D. as of Spring 2006

Teaching Experience:  American History to 1877, Fall 2006, Summer 2007


  • Provost’s Summer Research Grant, College of William & Mary, 2006, 2008       
  •  Passed Comprehensive Examinations with Distinction, 2006
  • Award for Excellence in the Humanities and Social Sciences, The College of William & Mary Graduate Research Symposium—March 2010 

 Conference Papers:

  • “Practicing Independence: African American Baptist Churches and Spiritual Leadership in Southeastern Virginia, 1800-1860,” The Virginia Forum, Washington & Lee University—March 2011
  • “Drawn Together, Drawn Apart: Biracial Fellowship and Black Leadership Before and After Nat Turner” in panel presentation “Does it Take a Small Window to See the Big Picture?” with Melvin P. Ely, Jennifer R. Loux, and Ted Maris-Wolf, The Historical Society Conference, George Washington University—June 2010
  • “A Complex Fellowship: Black and White Baptists in Tidewater Virginia, 1800-1860,”  The Virginia Forum, Christopher Newport University—April 2010
  • “A Complex Fellowship: Black and White Baptists in Tidewater Virginia, 1800-1860,”  Graduate Research Symposium, The College of William & Mary—March 2010


Dissertation: “Between Black and White: Race in Reform in the Baptist Churches of Southeastern Virginia, 1800-1870” (working title) - advised by Melvin P. Ely  My dissertation studies the interactions of black and white evangelicals in biracial churches, as well as the establishment of autonomous African American churches before, during, and after the Civil War.  I am exploring how, despite state legislation that restricted their religious activities, black evangelicals maintained significant freedoms and positions of authority in their churches.  My research also provides examples of the persistence of biracial fellowship, even as church communities were becoming increasingly segregated in the late antebellum period.  This dissertation will serve to deepen our understanding of the complexities of race relations in the Old South.